LONDON (VN) — Canadian Geoff Kabush came to the London Olympics dreaming of an Olympic medal.
Though he’s never medaled at worlds, the three-time Olympian seemingly always has an outside chance for a podium finish. He won a World Cup in Bromont in 2009 and has been a top-three finisher at World Cups on eight occasions over a pro career that dates back 12 years. His previous best result at an Olympics was ninth, in 2000, and his best result at a world championship was fifth, in 2009.
On a fast and technical course at Hadleigh Farm, 40 miles east of London, the Scott-3Rox Racing rider finished eighth, 1:38 off the winning time, one of the top finishers outside of the leading five-man group that decided the medals.
Afterward Kabush was content with his result.
“With the Olympics you always come in dreaming of a medal,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been planning and working for the last couple of years. I felt really comfortable and confident with everything I’ve done and everything the Canadian Cycling Association has done getting ready for this race.
“On the start line I felt like anything was possible. There are always a few incidents out there, but I felt like I got the most out of my legs. Top eight is a result I’ll be satisfied with. Obviously you come in dreaming of a medal, but top eight is definitely solid, coming in ranked 21st. I can’t complain.”
Though he started in the third row, Kabush had a good start and avoided the first-lap chaos that took down his Canadian teammate Max Plaxton.
“I was lucky I avoided most of the mayhem,” Kabush said. “There’s always going to be a few people jumping in front, walking the technical sections on the first lap, and it’s nice if you are in the first five or six. But around the second and third lap I knew I had to find my rhythm. Even though gaps were forming, the time was really small, but the nature of these new courses, with their short climbs and short descents, it’s really hard to claw back that time.”
Kabush had a minor crash of his own on a day that also saw Great Britain’s Liam Killeen taken off the course with a suspected broken ankle.
“I made a push into the top 10 and had a bit of an incident, but was able to regroup pretty quickly, and get into that group with Todd Wells, guys riding from eighth to 12th,” he said.
“People might look at this course and think it doesn’t look very technical, but there’s a lot of loose over hard-pack stuff and when you’re on your limit … it gets pretty dicey. I made a small mistake. And in the middle of the race, when fatigue starts setting in you have to be on point in some of these fast corners with loose gravel.”
Asked about the five riders that led the race — and the riders that took the medals — Kabush said it was a deserving Olympic podium.
“If you were going to pick five guys who would be at the front of the race, that’s who it would be,” he said. “It would have been nice to see Nino (Schurter) win; he looked pretty torn up there at the finish line. We saw how impressive (Jaroslav) Kulhavy was last year. Maybe it’s a little bit of a surprise, but you knew he was going to be a class rider on the big day.”
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